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Anniversary Contest Winners

The Gervasi Vineyard 10th Anniversary Contest generated over 900 submissions! Selecting our winners was certainly a challenge. Thank you to everyone who submitted a story. We will continue to share more of  them throughout the month. As we strive to become a world-class destination for people to come and “Celebrate Life”, we are humbled when our guests share these memorable moments with us. We truly value our guests and take great pride in providing a wonderful experience and fond memories. Read more stories >

Guest Winners

Nate Hedrick’s Story
My wife Kristen and I were married at Gervasi in the pavilion on August 10th, 2013. Our wedding day was so incredible and the staff at Gervasi were the extra icing on a completely perfect day. All of our guests still talk about all of the details that made the day so special – delicious food (especially the antipasto and dessert tables!), the beautiful grounds, the attentive service, and the world-class accommodations (our entire family stayed in one of the Villas). Each year we come back to Gervasi on our anniversary to have dinner and celebrate. This year was particularly special as our anniversary fell on a Saturday. As we finished our dinner and began walking the grounds, we noticed that another young couple was having their wedding right where we had been just 6 years before. We couldn’t resist celebrating right along with them – but instead of crashing their party, we decided to liven it up! We went right over to the Marketplace and bought a bottle of wine for the bride and groom. The employees at the Marketplace even got us the couple’s first names so we could write them a card! Hopefully, that small token brought them some added joy on their big day. If they had half as much fun as we did on our wedding day, then they too will have memories to last a lifetime! Thank you Gervasi!

Lynanne Kauffman’s Story
My husband, Ben, proposed at Gervasi 5 years ago. If there are 2 things we love, it is wine and Christmas. It had become our little tradition a couple years prior to have dinner at the Bistro on the Saturday before Christmas and soak up the beautiful, festive atmosphere. When his plan to propose in Italy that year fell through, he figured Gervasi was the next best thing! He planned it out so that we could go for a walk outside on the grounds before our reservation. It wasn’t one of those proposals with a coordinator or a photographer present, just our own private moment. When we got to the bridge, he decided that was his spot and made his move. I’ll never forget the gently falling snow in the light of the one lamp on bridge. But the icing on the cake? As soon as I said “YES”, out of nowhere one of the resident swans (we’ve always said it was Guiseppe) came gliding in at top speed all the way from the other side of the lake. He came right up to us, turned around, and shook his little tail feathers!!! It was hilarious and just too perfect. It was like he was the official Gervasi Ambassador saying “congratulations” with the swan-version of a round of applause. Ben always says he paid extra for him to do that. Afterwards, the staff went out of their way at dinner to help us celebrate. We split a bottle of the Barolo that night and hoped to buy another to take home for a future anniversary but unfortunately couldn’t do to it being in the Italian Collection. We decided on a bottle of Nebbiolo instead because it is the same grape and are still holding on to it for that special day to come. We love telling people our Gervasi story, we come back every year to celebrate at Christmas-time (except 2018 when our son was only 3 weeks old!), we always stop outside to look for the swans, and we even served Abbraccio at our wedding reception! Gervasi holds such a special place in our little story.

Mary Books’ Story
One of my favorite memories at Gervasi was when I brought friends/visitors from China, India, Romania and France to the Crush House for a private wine tasting with Andy Codispoti followed by a wonderful dinner in the Bistro.  Andy gave us the most elaborate, interesting and fun time imaginable.  Our international visitors were “wowed” by his knowledge and found Gervasi wine better than those in their regions.  The wine tasting was spot on with the food and wine meeting together like a perfect marriage.  A lot of knowledge, experience, and laughs were shared by all.  The charm, atmosphere and friendliness of all of the staff were top notch.  We took a short stroll to the Bistro afterwards where we wined and dined on some of the wines we tasted earlier and had a delicious array of appetizers before relaxing to a wonderful dinner that tantalized all of our taste buds.  I must say this day/evening is still discussed with our international colleagues all over the world.  BRAVO!  A job well done!  Thank you.  We look forward to many more good times celebrating LIFE!

Jennifer Mattes’ Story
Jennifer MattesTen years ago in March, my husband and I had our first “date night” after giving birth to our son on February 24, 2010.  We had gone to  Tinseltown to see a movie.  Afterwards, we didn’t want to go home right away because it was unseasonably warm and getting a chance to have a date without two small children was a treat.  So we started to Google any wineries that were in the area that we could go to.  Surprisingly, we had come across this new winery called Gervasi that just opened that week.  We decided to give it a shot.  As we pulled in we were shocked that this beautiful place was in our own backyard.  As we entered The Bistro, THE PLACE WAS PACKED.  We found a little corner at the bar.  A lovely lady with beautiful red hair, if memory services us right, her name was Gretchen, introduced herself.  She was amazing!  The night was obviously busy, but she was so patient and helpful, answering all of our five million questions about the wine and the property.  She kept apologizing because they ran out of wine glasses it was so busy.  I remember how excited we were that we found this gem on its opening weekend and we couldn’t wait to tell our friends.  Six weeks later, we raced to take all the spots up in the loft area to celebrate my 30th birthday with family and friends.  The place has always been so magical.  We have celebrated Valentine’s Day here, anniversaries and since the very first year, we have had lunch with Santa every year from 2010-2019.  We always tell our friends, why would you go to the mall to see Santa when you can go to Gervasi, drink wine, eat a delicious meal and Santa comes to you.  Our son’s first picture with Santa (which is framed and we put out every Christmas) was at Gervasi.  Santa is cradling him and they are just looking at one another.  It’s one of my favorite Christmas memories. Congratulations on celebrating ten special years!  We have loved watching this property grow and can’t wait to see what you all have in store!

Megan Vance’s Story
My favorite memory was last year at Valentines Day, we booked dinner and an overnight stay with another couple from Akron. We booked a Gorgeous  Villa, but before we went to the room we decided to have a cocktail at The Still House, none of us are very big drinkers but we decided to try The Lovers Drink. When it arrived pluming with dry ice we immediately squealed with delight! Not only was it THE most impressive drink I had ever seen, it was THE most delicious drink I had ever tasted! We STILL talk about that drink to this day! Maybe that’s why they call it The Still House? That drink memory has STILL lingered fondly as our most memorable drink moment EVER!

Joe Carollo’s Story
My wife and I have been going to Gervasi since they opened.  A good friend of mine told me about the winery and the story behind the owners’ because he knew that I would be intrigued since I’m such a die-hard Italian.  I could tell from the first time that we visited that it was a very special and unique place; however, Gervasi became a whole new experience once the villas were built. It was a way for my wife and I to get away and feel like we were back in Tuscany when we were really only 45 minutes from home.

We have brought family, friends and our office staff to stay in the Villas.  You name it, and we have done it at Gervasi.  We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and office parties.  There is nothing like spending time on the piazza looking out at the lake, eating fresh pizza, drinking wine and playing bocce. We have made so many memories throughout the ten years, and for that reason Gervasi will always hold a special place in our hearts. Read More.

Georgia Paxos’ Story
For six years, in early January, eleven friends and I have stayed overnight in one of Gervasi’s fabulous villas as part of our annual Girls Weekend.  We’re all Stark County residents, but once we pull into the Gervasi driveway, we are transported to a vineyard in Italy and we quickly flip to “vacation mode” for our stay.  For us, it is an opportunity to relax, drink some great wine, have some great conversations and laugh, a lot!  We go home to our families feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready to get back to our day-to-day schedules.

Each year, in advance of our stay, we randomly select who is sleeping in what room.  With 12 people in the Villa, we utilize every room, bed and sofa bed.  The first year, each room came up with their own themes — matching pajamas, matching t-shirts,etc.  We a do a white elephant gift exchange with a specific theme and order dinner from the Crush House.  Last year, we added coffee/breakfast at the Still House in advance of our stay.  We’ve gone for walks on the property and sat and enjoyed the snowfall, as well. We’ve experience all kinds of weather in six years!

Thank you to the Swaldo family for their investment in our community and for building such a fabulous retreat, not just for our village, but for our entire community.

Cynthia Beshara’s Story
A light snow falls outside as a brisk, bitter wind swirls around the Gervasi grounds. The crackling fire inside the marble and stone clad room casts an orange glow while warming the couple who are snuggled in the soft king size bed shrouded with a fluffy white comforter and sheets. Both look out the French doors at the stars shining down on the ice-covered pond on a cold winter’s night. The European ambiance of the room along with the romantic additions of Gervasi wine and chocolate enhances the experience… This is just one moment that my husband, Steve, and I will forever remember while celebrating our second wedding anniversary by staying overnight at The Casa. During our sojourn, we were able to walk beautiful grounds, while also visiting the various eateries to try unique food and beverages available at each. The staff at The Crush House, The Bistro, and The Distillery were genuinely interested in getting to know us and our story and all wanted to ensure that we had a memorable experience during our stay. As a couple who came to Gervasi when we first started dating, we continue to visit to celebrate milestones in our lives such as birthdays and special anniversaries. Furthermore, we look forward to future celebrations with our first baby on the way as we plan to make memories with our little one when we return to Gervasi as a family.

Connie Wickham’s Story
My son is studying Japanese at Temple University in Japan. My family has paid for this college degree by working multiple jobs.. nursing, cashier, go cart attendant, wine pourer, ticket taker, photographer etc. Any job we can find. Some days work is 16-17 hours and many times work is 14 days with 1 day off. No vacations. The night before my son left to Japan, we went to your Vineyard for dinner, bocce and music. We all walked with my son on your paths and came across this sign. A beautiful reminder for my son to stay on his path to finish college and for my husband, my other son and me who are here in the Ohio to stay on our path of getting him though college debt free.  This path for our family will end on June 7th on graduation day.   You may think that you placed a simple sign on your lawn, but you have given us a memory. A reminder of our family’s direction and the path we are on.  The day he gets back to the US from Japan we will have a celebration dinner at Gervasi. We will take photos with the family next to that sign and Celebrate our hard work! Thank You Gervasi for being apart of the beginning of Landon’s Path and apart of the celebration to come…

Ron Rodak’s Story
Our favorite memory at Gervasi is one of many of an ongoing family love story.

It is set within your campus of exquisite venues, austere landscapes and natural environments.  Our visits were all supported and hosted by the most knowledgeable, polite and professional staff of any destination landmark in our great country that we have ever visited.  Our family collectively, as frequent national and international  travelers, have experienced some of the  greatest destinations that ever could be imagined!  Gervasi Vineyards stands out like the center gem in a crown of world renowned vineyards and other landmark destinations.  We are blessed to call Gervasi Vineyards our most favorite destination and Canton’s Crown Jewel! Read More.

Staff Winners

Stacey McArthur’s Story
One of my favorite memories of Gervasi is how I discovered this beautiful place. On June 3, 2014 my husband and I were celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary and wanted to go somewhere special. I found Gervasi through their website and made reservations. We were so in awe that this beauty is so near us and we had no idea. As we went through the gates we felt like we were in another land. We could hear the live music outside as we strolled into the Bistro. We were taken downstairs to the Vetrina. Dan was our server. I can still remember which table we sat at and what we ate. We tried flights of wine and I loved them all! I was so impressed by the service and attention to detail. We were so surprised by the gelato celebration dessert. I had worked in hospitality for a very long time and I just knew I wanted to be a part of all of this. I wanted to provide the service and hospitality I had received and so enjoyed. I applied a week or so later and I’ve been with the company ever since. It is my pleasure to make our guests feel like I did that day.

Jessica Johnson’s Story
My name is Jessica and I’ve been an employee for two years. I started out as an RA and now I’m the shuttle driver. My favorite Gervasi memory comes from one of my many shuttle adventures. Four years ago I became a Baltimore ravens fan, so when I learned I got to shuttle for the Hall of Fame guests I was stoked. Especially because I knew Ed Reed was being inducted. And the year before Ray Lewis was inducted and the owner of the ravens stayed with us. I never saw him, but I knew he was there.

Before Hall of Fame weekend arrived, I got the privilege of shuttling a group of Gold Jackets that were staying with us. Of course I had no idea who they were but I was still in awe. Some of them were even wearing their gold jacket. It was quite the experience. Read More.

Daniel McLaughlin’s Story
An opportunity was given to me to build and create artwork for The Still House.  This project was a very memorable experience for me.  It had been a goal of mine to create permanent work for display in any form.  Even more enjoyable was the fact that it would be displayed on the property where I’ve been working at for now six years.  I’m grateful for the opportunity that Gervasi ownership provided.  I had a lot of fun building the structures and applying the paint.  I worked from my basement and garage and my kids helped out too, I was a great process.  And also a shout out to my girlfriend, Jamie Fry, who works at The Twisted Olive.  She helped a lot and we also had the blessing of our baby boy being born while these were in the works.  I loved the process as it combined the two most important aspects of my life; family, and art.

Baylen Dyrlund’s Story
My favorite Gervasi memory is the first time I actually had the pleasure of meeting Ted Swaldo. I work at the Crush House and from one of my first days he introduced himself and welcomed me to the team. That memory sticks out because I think it was such a professional gesture. From that moment, Gervasi and The Crush House has felt like a second home. I feel from top to bottom, I am treated with respect and cared for. Chrissy Glass has also given me opportunities to excel in other departments inside the Crush House and for that I am thankful.

Abbey Schilling’s Story
Anyone who works at GV or TTO knows the Carters, Chris and Allen frequent both properties multiple times a week (and even bring Quinton and Silvia along! ) Every time they enter the front door its like we are welcoming old friends in for a home-cooked meal. They always have two big smiles to accompany their matching track suits! No matter what, they always have such a welcoming aura about them. They smile and ask how my day is, or how work is going, we chat about life and giggle about saving them their favorite honorary booth.

One day I noticed they were coming up on their 300th visit to the Twisted Olive, and I couldn’t help but feel like we should do something extra special for them to share the feeling they give us every time they visit. I love to paint and craft custom gifts and I immediately thought they both needed a custom set of TTO wine glasses to celebrate the big 300! We came together not just as staff members, and not just from TTO, but from GV as well, as a family to make an experience they will always remember.  Read More.